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Texas Religious Freedoms Bill Allows Religious Holiday Symbols In Public Schools

It may be early to start thinking about Christmas — but today Gov. Rick Perry signed the religious freedoms bill. The bill allows Christmas and other religious holidays into Texas schools.

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“Good morning, my name is Reagan. I am eight years old and I am in second grade. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I am very proud of my dad for passing a bill that makes sure all Texas kids can celebrate the holidays at school.”

And so began the press conference for what’s being called the Merry Christmas bill.

Gov. Rick Perry says religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion. He says people of faith too often feel they can’t express their faith publicly.

“The bill that I’m signing today works to address that issue, by insuring that people of all faiths are free to use traditional holidays greetings, display religious scenes and symbols, even on school property.”

State Rep. Dwayne Bohac, a Republican who represents Spring Branch, is Reagan’s father. He worked with the Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian advocacy and legal defense group, to author the bill.

“This is just political correctness that’s run amuck and our brains have completely fallen out as a result of political correctness. So this bill seeks to restore some sanity to our civil discourse.”

In addition to religious greetings, the bill also permits schools to display religious symbols, as long as there is more than one religion represented in the display or at least one secular symbol, such as a santa claus or snowman.

That last part is the sticking point for the Anti-Defamation League. A spokesperson for the Houston office says it will lead to divisive school-sponsored religious messages and perhaps costly litigation.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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